How often to change your toothbrush: dentists weigh
Even if your toothbrush looks perfectly well seated in its cup on the side of the sink, it may need to be replaced. In addition to looking less fresh after weeks or months of daily use, the bristles actually become less efficient at their brushing job over time. Not only that, but an old toothbrush can reach the point where it harbors bad bacteria and mold, which warrants a more frequent trip to the dental care aisles.
The frequency with which to change the rules of the toothbrush is quite simple. “Ideally, you should replace your toothbrush every three to six months,” says the dentist. Dr Amanda Lewis, DMD. If that sounds like a lot, keep this in mind: “Dental enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, so when you use your toothbrush every day, it wears down the fibers that make it up, ”she explains. Once the hairs are flared and frayed efficiency decreases, which could increase your risk of cavities, bad breath, and other oral health problems.
Then there is the bacterial factor. While anything can and will gather bacteria, your toothbrush is a real petri dish. “When a toothbrush does not have time to dry, it can attract particles in the air which begin to lodge and develop a colony of harmful bacteria,” Dentiste Dr Mariya Malin, DDS Bustle said. Not to mention that if your toothbrush is kept right next to the toilet, it can also come in contact with bacteria like E. coli. Uh, yuck.
How to make your toothbrush last
While you always want to replace your toothbrush before six months, there are plenty of ways to keep it as fresh as possible while you wait. Dr Umang Patel, a dentist based in Chicago, Illinois, recommends rinsing the bristles thoroughly and, if you have an electric toothbrush, detaching the shaft and cleaning it thoroughly after each use.
“Saliva and toothpaste can get stuck under where the brush connects to the wand and can form a sump of germs and bacteria, which can lead to getting sick, ”he told Bustle. “Another great way to keep your brush clean is to keep it on your counter in a toothbrush holder so it can be aired out during the day. “
If you store your toothbrush in a damp container or toss it in a drawer, bacteria will be more likely to grow, so leave it in the open to let it dry properly between each use. For an extra dose of protection, Patel recommends pouring a little mouthwash on your brush after each use to help kill any remaining germs or bacteria. You can do it before brushing if you want too.
The general consensus? Dental hygiene also requires good toothbrush hygiene.
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Dr Amanda Lewis, DMD, Dentiste
Dr Mariya Malin, DDS, Dentiste
Dr Umang Patel, Dentiste